Colombia: FARC’s Presidential Candidate Withdraws From Race

FARC’s presidential candidate has withdrawn from the race over health problems. Earlier this month, officials confirmed that Rodrigo Londoño had been transported to a hospital with heart problems. He underwent surgery on Wednesday and is now recovering in a Bogota clinic.

Rodrigo Londoño and 74 other candidates for FARC’s political party recently started campaigning for the presidential and legislative elections. The former rebel group signed a peace deal with the government back in 2016. The deal brought the end to the conflict and allowed the former rebel group to become a political party. They were also guaranteed ten seats in the Congress through 2026.

Ivan Marquez, who is a Senate candidate for FARC, said that the surgery that took place yesterday combined with the features of the electoral campaign, had led them to decline their presidential aspirations.

The former rebel group began campaigning a few weeks ago but announced a suspension shortly after. The presidential candidate visited the city of Armenia for the start of his campaign but he was met by protests. In videos taken by local media, he can be seen walking through the streets as residents shout insults. Protesters are later seen throwing objects at a vehicle.

The political party has confirmed that it will continue in the race for the legislative elections, which take place this Sunday. The former rebel group had announced a suspension for the presidential and legislative campaigns.

The peace deal signed back in 2016 has been heavily criticized by some as they think the group should have served prison time. Voters actually rejected the first deal before the one signed in late 2016.

Recent surveys had shown very small support for FARC’s presidential candidate, who visited just a few places before the suspension of the campaign. FARC became a political party back in September 2017, less than a year after the deal was signed.

FARC was the largest rebel group in Colombia before the deal was signed. Earlier this year, the Colombian government announced the suspension of peace talks with the rebel group ELN. The suspension came following a series of attacks that killed police officers. The ELN is Colombia’s largest active rebel group, with an estimated number of members between 1,300 and 3,000.

The Colombian parliamentary elections are scheduled for March 11 while the presidential elections are scheduled for May 27.